It is rare to find a solo feature on La Tour Haut Brion these days. Traders do not speak of this 160-year-old winery much – the name has long faded out from en primeur and pre-arrival talks since the winery released its final vintage in 2005. Since 2006, La Tour Haut Brion’s fruit went into La Mission Haut Brion bottlings, with the majority going into second vin La Chapelle de La Mission Haut Brion.
Today, La Tour Haut Brion has become more a fond memorabilia among those who know and love Bordeaux hidden gems beyond the great growths and trade darlings. Whilst some saw the merge of production between La Mission Haut Brion and La Tour Haut Brion as a disappointment especially to the winery’s fans; this move was not unexpected when officially announced by owning family Dillon in 2007. Despite its cru classe status as recognized in 1959 Graves Classification, La Tour Haut Brion had unofficially been seen as the second wine of La Mission Haut Brion – especially before its sale to Dillon family in 1983.
Year 1983 saw the sale of 3 Haut Brion estates – La Tour Haut Brion, Laville Haut Brion and La Mission Haut Brion, to the Dillon family, whom owned Chateau Haut Brion since 1935. Neighbouring La Mission Haut Brion, La Tour Haut Brion’s average annual production of 2000 cases has always been done under the same roof and by the same technical team of La Mission Haut Brion.
Stylistically, La Tour Haut Brion is known for its austere, powerful form when young. In terms of cepage, La Tour Haut Brion is planted to 42% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot and 3% Cabernet Franc – similar to its big brother Haut Brion. Among the four Haut Brion estates, La Tour Haut Brion has always appeared more manly, firm, and rather unyielding during youth. It is a wine that would reward those who have patience. With 14 years now elapsed since vintage 2005, it is good time to revisit La Tour Haut Brion’s final vintage.
Never ever say goodbye – at least not until the world drink up every drop of La Tour Haut Brion remaining bottles. Even as we eventually will do, through La Chapelle de La Mission Haut Brion we may always find shadows of La Tour Haut Brion, curated to show a touch more softness and elegance than before.
Brief facts about Chateau La Tour Haut Brion
- First acknowledged in 1850s
- Owned by the Dillon family / Domaine Clarence Dillon since 1983
- The smallest estate recognized under Graves Classification for its red wine production, with only 5 hectares under vines (Contrast Chateau Haut Brion where over 50 hectares of land are planted to vines)
- Neighbour of Chateau La Mission Haut Brion
- 2005 was the chateau’s last vintage producing under its own name
- Average annual production of 2000 cases